Miami Dior boutique by Barbarito Bancel is sheathed in curved white concrete panels

French studio Barbarito Bancel Architectes has draped a Dior clothing boutique in Miami in an assemblage of sculpted white panels, intended to evoke a pleated skirt (+ slideshow).

The new flagship store for the French fashion label Dior is located in the Miami Design District, alongside boutiques for luxury brands such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton.

Barbarito Bancel wrapped the store in an assortment of curved white panels made of ultra-high-performance concrete and marble powder.

Designed to resemble pleats in a skirt or dress, the skin draws references to Dior’s Japanese-inspired Spring Summer collection from 2007.

At night, lights placed behind the slits in the facade emit a white glow.

“Through large curved movements of white concrete, clear figures of the ‘plissée’ take shape, between which the spaces of the boutique slide in,” said the Paris-based studio, which is led by architects Benjamin Bancel and Ivana Barbarito.

At ground level, large windows framed in shiny silver provide a clear view into the spacious boutique, which offers ready-to-wear women’s apparel and accessories.

Rising three storeys, the shop features a restrained colour palette of greys and whites. Rectangular silver racks are suspended from the ceiling.

The store’s top level opens onto a wooden terrace with verdant plantings and white patio decor.

Barbarito Bancel was mindful of the building’s retail function when designing the facade.

“The building does not want to appear as an institution or a museum,” it said.

“The [design] is influenced by the suggestive inspirations of Miami — images of sun and beaches along with an idea of dynamism, youth and contemporary design,” it added.

The exterior is also meant to convey the defining qualities of the Dior brand, such as elegance, beauty and refinement, according to the design team.

“Its image needs to outlive time that goes by and continue to represent the Dior spirit in a lasting manner,” said the studio.

Dior has worked with numerous international architects in the design of its stores. Other examples include a Tokyo boutique by SANAA that features glass walls set in front of an acrylic screen and an outpost in Seoul by Christian de Portzamparc with a garment-inspired facade.

The Miami Design District is the brainchild of Craig Robins, co-founder of the Design Miami fair, who is developing the formerly neglected area into a neighbourhood dedicated to fashion, design, architecture and dining spaces.

The district already includes a retail building with a glass arcade by Sou Fujimotoa dome by Buckminster Fuller, and a store with a pleated concrete facade by ArandaLasch for Tom Ford.

Also within the district is the first US flagship store for Italian watch brand Panerai, which was conceived by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola.

Photography is by Alessandra Chemollo.

Floor plans – click for larger image
Section – click for larger image

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